Family members, friends and professional colleagues of ailing veteran sports journalist Akinloye Oyebanji on Thursday appealed to governments, public-spirited individuals and corporate organisations to assist him with the sum of $25,000.
Steve Olarinoye, a retired sports administrator who spoke on behalf of the group, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin the money was needed for urgent medical attention.
Olarinoye, a former Zonal Director of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, disclosed that Oyebanji was critically ill with persistent heart failure.
“He is presently at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the National Hospital in Abuja. But the money needed will be for his transportation and treatment in India, and there will be two caretakers who will accompany him to India,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Oyebanji served the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) for 35 years in different capacities, including being a sports broadcaster, and later as General Manager (Sports).
He retired as Managing Director of NTA Properties at the authority’s headquarters in Abuja.
Olarinoye said Oyebanji had been ill for almost four months now and the family had spent over N5 million to save his life without any improvement.
“Sometime ago, he had the misfortune of losing his kidneys, and they were replaced successfully through a transplant in India.
“But one of the side effects of kidney transplant is heart failure, which he has experienced on two occasions and survived,’’ he said.
Olarinoye disclosed that NTA has however promised to assist Oyebanji with 50 per cent of the money needed to further treat him.
“However, for now, I am appealing on behalf of his family and friends to spirited Nigerians to come to the aid of this industrious Nigerian, who has given his all to sports development in Nigeria, and has served his fatherland diligently.’’
Olarinoye confirmed that friends and associates have started showing their concern in both cash and kind, while the family has also gotten in touch with the Kwara state government.
Meanwhile, the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Thursday also appealed to governments, public-spirited individuals and corporate organisations to come to the aid of the veteran sports broadcaster.
It joined others in appealing for financial assistance to enable Oyebanji travel urgently for treatment.(NAN)